If you are one of the 25 million Americans out there who suffer from Tinnitus, you understand that it can have a profound impact on your life. Although Tinnitus isn’t a condition, but a sign that something is wrong with your auditory system, it can still cause difficulty hearing, trouble sleeping, and even cause issues with concentration. No one wants to spend their life living with these kinds of issues. There are treatment options available for Tinnitus that could seriously reduce your symptoms, so you don’t develop the fatigue, anxiety, and depression that plague many individuals who experience this problem.
What is Tinnitus?
There are different kinds of Tinnitus, but, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is “hearing of sound when no external sound is present.” Although some individuals describe a ringing sound, some who suffer from it describe a buzzing, humming, hissing, or clicking sound. The noise can vary in sound and frequency. Some who suffer from Tinnitus state that they hear the sound all the time, while it comes and goes for other individuals. For some people, the Tinnitus is temporary and goes away, while for others it stays and doesn’t go away. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Tinnitus.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Just as people with Tinnitus can hear many different kinds of sounds, there are also many different reasons why someone could experience it. While the underlying condition causing Tinnitus may not be serious, the Mayo Clinic recommends seeing your doctor if the condition is seriously impacting your life or if it comes on suddenly. According to the US National Library of Medicine, some of the conditions that could cause someone to experience Tinnitus include:
- Frequent Exposure to Loud Noises
- Earwax Buildup
- Sinus Infection
- Brain Tumor
- Meniere’s Disease
- Certain Medications
The good news is that those who suffer from Tinnitus are not stuck without any recourse. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) states there are often several treatment options that your doctor will probably discuss with you. In all likelihood, they will probably treat you with more than one depending on the underlying cause and how severely you are impacted by the Tinnitus.
Some of the treatment options include:
- Counseling—While it may seem odd at first glance, a therapist can assist you in coping with Tinnitus. They may be able to work with you in finding strategies on how to make the noise you hear less noticeable. Counseling may also help you with being able to relax and sleep, which is sure to make you feel better.
- Hearing Aids—If what you are experiencing is making it difficult for you to hear and participate in conversations, hearing aids may be a great way to reduce that impact.
They may also have the bonus of being able to reduce how much you notice the Tinnitus.
- Sound Masking Devices—The American Tinnitus Association notes that sound masking devices can give folks temporary relief from the sound they hear. Essentially, a sound masking device works by providing a “white noise” that covers the sound they are hearing.
Traditionally this is done with a device that goes near a person’s bed and has a couple of preset sounds, but there are other options. Electric fans have often been used for their ability to make a subtle sound that can mask Tinnitus.
- Acoustic Neural Stimulation—This treatment is relatively new, but works by delivering a signal to the neural circuits in your brain through music. The hope behind this treatment is that it will be able to desensitize you to the impact or eliminate your Tinnitus. This treatment has shown some promise in doing that in some studies according to the NIDCD.
Efforts to Find More Treatments for Tinnitus Continue
From experimental drugs to studies being done on the brain, there is a lot of work going into understanding and treating Tinnitus. If you are currently experiencing Tinnitus, and it is severely impacting your quality of life, make an appointment with your doctor today to discuss treatment options that might work for you.